Sunday, November 14, 2004

A Laywoman's Lectionary: The Empty Years

There isn't much to say about my spiritual journey in my 20s, since I wasn't making one. I went to college -- three of them, in fact, in Massachusetts and Rhode Island -- and never set foot in a chapel or took a course in religious studies. I got married in a church, that little brick Methodist church of my childhood, but only because a tornado and torrential rains wiped out our plans for an outdoor wedding. I went back to the midwest for law school and I went to work.

Something was nagging at me, though. All those years in religious schools had taught me that my life was supposed to be one of service to others. As a child of the 60s, I did, like many of my law school classmates, have some vague and ill-defined ideas about using the law as a tool for social action, but it turned out that those kinds of jobs were few and far between, especially where I live. So I ended up in the corporate world, wearing elegant suits and making good money, taking regular business trips and eating in nice restaurants. And always, always, wondering whether I wasn't supposed to be doing something -- well, something more substantial with my life.

One day when I was in my late twenties, completely out of the blue, I told my husband that I thought that we should find a church. He was agreeable, and suggested that we check out a Methodist one a few blocks away. I was fine with that. The building had tremendous appeal -- it's built on the plan of a 13th century French cathedral.

It offered a safe trial -- the services were broadcast on weekly cable, so we didn't even have to go near the place to check it out! We liked what we saw -- great music and erudite preaching -- and so off we went, walking on a cold and sunny January morning down a narrow pathway that ran through the residential blocks between our house and the church. We had no idea what we were doing, but a month later we were official members of a large mainline United Methodist congregation.

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